University of Hertfordshire

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Shared Parental Leave: Awareness is key

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Ernestine Gheyoh Ndzi
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Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Management
Journal publication date30 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2017

Abstract

The legislation on shared parental leave that came into force on the 5th of April 2015 is aimed at giving working mothers the opportunity to return to work early if they so choose after childbirth to continue with their career and also to give fathers the opportunity to be involved in the lives of their newborn. However, past research has demonstrated a very low uptake on shared parental leave. This paper argues that working parents’ awareness on the existence of the legislation is key to its effectiveness.
A qualitative study approach was adopted to assess the importance of awareness. A sample of forty eligible working parents were informally interviewed for ten minutes to find out whether or not they know about shared parental leave. Participants were recruited at a primary school fair. The forty parents were workers in different sectors which included care, hospitality, security, education, finance, retail and construction.
The findings indicated that awareness may be one key factor as to why the uptake of shared parental leave was low. It was also evident from the results that employers do not inform eligible employees of the existence of shared parental leave or support and encourage them to take shared parental leave. This paper concludes that to assess the effectiveness of shared parental leave, awareness is key.
The findings of this article is obtained from a limited time interview data. This paper is a basis for a bigger research project particularly on the reasons why mothers may or may not want to share their maternity leave.
Existing research has surveyed some employers and their employees and concluded uptake statistics based on their data. This study demonstrates that more awareness is required which has not been done yet. This research is part of an ongoing project investigating the reasons why mothers may or may not want to share their maternity leave, given that the legislation made mothers 'gatekeepers' to the effectiveness of shared parental leave.

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ID: 12233227